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Another hot St. Louis Saturday, but it's my birthday and I always feel good on my birthday. Another year gone but, just as many times before, a year of great pleasures and few disappointments.

Considering that these are hard times for many, I can feel doubly thankful. I use this date to record our household worth from year to year. This year, yes, we've lost some – about 8% – but are still very far from the waterline. Luck and good management; we've always been frugal and this is where it pays off. One thing I can say; I've been reading articles on finance and money management for a long time now and it is clearer than ever that most – maybe all – self-appointed experts know nothing except how to market themselves. These days, I just follow the news.

Ruth is preparing a celebratory meal of home-made (and by that, I mean completely from scratch) steak and kidney pie and trifle. My workmate Robyn gave me a lovely bottle of wine yesterday to share with the meal. It's going to be delightful.

Meanwhile, here's another photograph. Taken at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Montana and processed using Canon's 'Nostalgia' Picture Style template in their Digital Photo Professional software, it produces an effect of extraordinary calm in me when I look at it. It's the prairie dog hole that does it – a snug home on a barren landscape.